This week is National Customer Services Week, or CSW, an opportunity to celebrate the relationship that all businesses have with their customers. I have been a member of the Institute of Customer Service for many years now and this week is one of the highlights of their calendar. More details can be found here.
At this point I could trot out a whole load of cliches here about how important customers are but that would not add any value. Everyone knows that really and having set out on my own venture a short while ago attracting customers, developing customer and servicing customers have never been out of my mind.
This week then I am going to step out of my normal blog routine and focus on the five themes of Customer Service Week. Monday’s them is the ‘Voice of the Customer.’
Listening to your customer and acting up this feedback is such an important part of the relationship yet is often overlooked. Listening is a fundamental part of the lean startup process and allows you to pivot and develop your ideas to meet genuine customer needs. Being open to comments from your customers, both positive and negative, is the lowest cost way of transforming your business.
In my view there is no substitute for sitting in front of a customer and listening to what they have to say but this is more difficult when numbers are large or if your business is transacted over the Internet.
I was particularly taken recently by the interaction I had with an online company Helloprint. I was wanting some leaflets printed and had approached a couple of local printers whose pricing made my eyes water. I already had the artwork and the ease with which I was able to order what I wanted from Helloprint and the relative cost left me very satisfied, yet it was the way that they have kept me informed that has stuck in my mind.
I have received regular emails from them describing what is happening to my order. Each has a section letting me know what to do if I have any questions or comments and each is signed by an individual, Danny in Customer service in this case. I have no idea if Danny is a real person yet it felt like he was.
At the end of the mail however, they ask ‘What do you think about this email?’ and there are three boxes for you to click on. This takes you to a short feedback form allowing you to share what you want with them. Very simple, very effective and it creates the impression, in me at least, that they are listening to the voice of their customer. I only pressed the green one.